Washington State
House of Representatives
Office of Program Research
Local Government Committee
HB 1620
Brief Description: Concerning the number of inhabitants required for incorporation as a city or town.
Sponsors: Representatives Fey and Morgan.
Brief Summary of Bill
  • Removes the requirement that an area must have at least 3,000 inhabitants, instead of the otherwise standard 1,500, to incorporate if it is within 5 air miles of a city with a population of 15,000 or more. 


Hearing Date: 2/1/23
Staff: Kellen Wright (786-7134).

An unincorporated area in the State of Washington can incorporate into a town or city if certain requirements are met.  The area must be contiguous and contain at least 1,500 inhabitants, or at least 3,000 inhabitants if the area is within 5 air miles of a city with 15,000 or more people.  A registered voter in the area proposed for incorporation may initiate incorporation proceedings by filing a notice with the county containing information about the proposed city or town and paying a $100 filing fee.  The county boundary review board, or the county legislative authority if there is no boundary review board in the county, must then hold a public meeting on the proposed incorporation.  Within 180 days of the meeting, at least 10 percent of the population of the area must sign a petition for incorporation and have it filed with the county auditor. 
If these steps are satisfied, an election will be held to determine whether or not the area will incorporate.  To be eligible to vote in the election, a voter must be qualified to vote in the county and must have resided within the area proposed for incorporation for at least 30 days.  If a majority vote in favor of incorporation, the new city or town is incorporated. 

Summary of Bill:

The requirement that an area within 5 air miles of a city of 15,000 or more must have least 3,000 inhabitants in order for it to incorporate, instead of at least 1,500 inhabitants, is repealed.

Appropriation: None.
Fiscal Note: Not requested.
Effective Date: The bill takes effect 90 days after adjournment of the session in which the bill is passed.